Last updated: 23 February, 2012

Wounded British photographer in Syria calls for help

A British photographer injured in the Syrian rebel city of Homs issued a video message on Thursday saying that he was safe but asking for “government agencies” to help him.

Paul Conroy, who works for Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper, was hurt in the same rocket attack that killed his American colleague Marie Colvin and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik on Wednesday.

The Foreign Office in London has said it is working to repatriate Colvin’s body and to help Conroy reach safety.

The video, posted on YouTube and broadcast on British television, shows the 47-year-old photographer lying on a makeshift bed of blankets and cushions in a windowless room, with what looks like a drip in his right hand.

“I was wounded in a rocket attack yesterday — three large wounds to my leg. My colleague Marie Colvin was also killed in the same attack,” Conroy said.

“I’m currently being looked after by the Free Syrian Army medical staff, who are treating me with the best medical treatment available. It’s important to add that I am here as a guest and have not been captured.

“Obviously any assistance I can be given by government agencies would be welcome.”

A doctor is also shown explaining Conroy’s wounds, and the voice of an unseen person says he is currently in a safe place. But as the sound of an explosion demonstrates, he says they do not know how long this will be the case.

Conroy says he would like “any help possible”, adding that the video was intended “just to reassure family, friends in England that I’m absolutely OK.”

French reporters Edith Bouvier, who works for the French daily Le Figaro, and William Daniels also issued video pleas from inside Syria on Thursday.

Britain summoned Syria’s ambassador to London on Wednesday to demand that Syrian authorities facilitate immediate arrangements for the repatriation of the dead journalists’ bodies, as well as medical treatment for Conroy.

“All the necessary work is being done on repatriating Marie Colvin’s body and ensuring Paul Conroy gets to safety,” a Foreign Office spokesman said on Thursday.

Rupert Murdoch, whose US-based News Corporation owns The Sunday Times, emailed staff on Wednesday saying: “We are doing all we can in the face of shelling and sniper fire to get him to safety and to recover Marie’s body.”